By John Harris |@JHBasketball
Rondo leads Boston over Miami in OT, series tied at 2-2:
Rajon Rondo had 15pts and 15ast and six Celtics scored in double figures to push the Green Team to a 93-91 overtime victory at home in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. Rondo — who is 3rpg from averaging a triple-double in the series — was again the catalyst for the Celtics, carving up Miami’s defense early and often but still managing to get his own when left open. The Celtics knew it was basically win or go home as a trip to Miami in a 3-1 hole would have mirrored last year’s playoff exit and likely spelled the end of Boston’s Big Three era.
The Big Three weren’t ready to let that happen just yet with KG continuing to turn back the clock with 17pts and 14rbs and Ray Allen fighting ankle pains to knock down 4 treys and finish with 16pts. The story of the game will again be the officiating with 12 offensive fouls called and numerous decisions that could have gone either way. Paul Pierce and Lebron James both fouled out in overtime and Rondo picked up a technical for kicking out at Battier after an offensive call. The game’s chippy nature only served to enliven the contest though, another mini instant classic to add to a series of classic games.
For the Heat, the reigning MVP was again the man of the moment. This time it wasn’t so much transition buckets as half-court patience that paid off for James, picking his routes into the lane and finishing strong around the rim. His three-pointer off a slipped screen with 38 ticks remaining in regulation tied the game and kept Miami’s chances of a victory alive. Wade again struggled from the field despite vowing a comeback performance and his miss at the OT buzzer topped a 7-22 FG shooting night and left the Celtics with plenty of confidence going into Game 5 on Tuesday night.
“Red [Auerbach] wasn’t going to let that go in. Not in the Boston Garden.”
- Doc Rivers
Chicago Bulls looking to veterans Nash and Kidd to replace DR3:
ComCast SportsNet Chicago are reporting that the Bulls are looking at the veteran duo of Steve Nash and Jason Kidd as potential replacements for injured point guard Derrick Rose. Rose — who tore his left ACL and meniscus in the Bulls’ first-round series against Philadelphia — is expected to miss the entire 2012-13 season and Chicago need to make some tough decisions on the future of the team.
Camps seem to be split between trying to bridge the Rose-less gap by bringing in a decent replacement (as Nash or Kidd would be) or trading key pieces and blowing up the team ready to make a run at free agency in a couple of years. It appears as though Bulls’ management have decided on the former strategy:
While the front office may seek out minimum-salary veterans at several positions, including point guard, a source tells CSNChicago.com that the Bulls will take a run at future Hall of Famers Steve Nash and Jason Kidd in free agency.
Kidd and Nash are both unrestricted free agents this Summer and would both surely be looking elsewhere after disappointing seasons in 2011-12.
Blazers star Aldridge recovering from deadly blood virus:
Portland Trailblazers star LaMarcus Aldridge has been recovering in hospital after discovering what he thought was a bad cold was actually a deadly blood virus. Aldridge — the Blazers’ captain who averaged 21pts and 8rbs this season — has been writing a personal blog on the Portland website and wrote:
“I thought it was a case of bad food or a bad cold, but I was wrong. It turned out to be a very serious virus that if not treated quickly could actually be deadly! One thing I know for sure is that I’ve never felt worse in my life and there were times I wasn’t really sure where I was going. I’m truly thankful for still being here and being able to do functions like walk, talk and open my eyes as those things were hard to do during that time.”
- LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge — who received his first All-Star call-up in February — was originally in hospital having surgery on a hip injury and the team expect him to be fully recovered from both ailments ready for training camp to begin later this year.
With both conferences tied, who do you see going to the Finals? Should the Bulls go after Nash/Kidd or rebuild for a stronger free agent class? Can the emerging Aldridge lead Portland back to the playoffs next year? Let us know in the comments!
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